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Thread: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

  1. #1

    Default 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Does anyone have any information or insight on these mandolins? I am an antique guitar luthier and I have seen many mandolins , I have never seen one like the narrow one I have pictured . I can't find another that looks anything like it . The other bowl back is more common in appearance , I would love any info on either.

    The narrow one is only 4 1/2" inches wide !!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    The narrow one I think looks like fun! I have seen a picture of a similar instrument before but I can't remember where. Hope someone else can be of more help. I will try to remember where I saw the picture.

  3. #3
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    The narrow one looks like a pocket mandolin -- said to be used by gondoliers. Usually they're full-scale, despite being narrow, and sound at normal pitch (unlike the piccolo mandolin, which is higher). The standard mandolin appears to be an American build, and very early -- 1890s?

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Agree with August. A lot of those pocket mandolins were made in Germany for some reason. Holdrio is a very common brand. The other mandolin was probably made by or for Lyon & Healy of Chicago and is probably unlabelled because it would be sold to retail stores for them to put their own label on.
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Thank you all very much .

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    ...A lot of those pocket mandolins were made in Germany for some reason. Holdrio is a very common brand...
    I own a German-made Holdrio Piccolo labeled mandolin that has the same body shape as the one depicted; mine is a cheaper model, with a marquetry pickguard rather than the celluloid guard and rosette. Mine also has only three maple back ribs, but it does have the ubiquitous Marcelli tailpiece.
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    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    As others have said, the smaller one is a 'pocket mandolin' (literal translation of the German name, Taschenmandoline). They come up on eBay from time to time and usually attract some lively bidding. Mostly they are flatbacks, made in Germany, but yours is almost certainly Italian. I don't know what Italians call them.
    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    The pocket very well might be Italian though the large majority, as Tony noted, seem to be German-made. The only bowlback piccolo I have in my files is from Puglisi and looks different from that one.

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    Jim

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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Quote Originally Posted by tonydxn View Post
    ... I don't know what Italians call them.

    Tasca = pocket. Mandolino tascabile would translate into "pocketable mandolin" which I kind of like. German is the best language for neologisms but there are fun nuances in every language translation.

    I kept that same image copy of the Puglisi that Jim shared. Great photo. A lot of splendid details for something you'd stick in your pocket. The bowl / neck and and neck / details are more special than they need to be. And I'm a sucker for maple bowls.

    I've had a couple of these, a German and an Italian. Beyond their wonderful curiousity, I was underwhelmed with their giocabilita. Either folks had bigger pockets back then or the world was much quieter. Probably both. Not a lot of sound coming out.

    Both of mine made splendid, well received gifts to violinist friends.

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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    One of my favorite things about visiting the back rooms of the music department of the Metropolitan Museum was the drawers of pochettes also called dancing masters fiddles (first cousins to the pocket mandolins).

    Here is one drawer:

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    Mick:did Max Weyl play a pocket mandolin?
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Those are sweet, J. Pulling out a pocket / pochette violin is a move bustulator for sure.

    One of those would motivate me. Even on the bus.

    Do you need a pocket bow to go with it?

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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    In the same realm but more modern is this very clever Wiplstix Travel/ Practice Violin (The "Infiddel") which comes in its own PVC pipe case. I actually own one and they are playable but, as you can imagine, leave much to be desired for tone and volume. What is great is that the bow does fit in the case (it is a 1/8 size violin bow). Now I have to get mine out and play it.

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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Would like to clarify that a pocket mandolin and a piccolo mandolin are not the same thing. Pocket mandolins are ordinary mandolins with a narrow body, 330mm scale length, tuned GDAE. A piccolo mandolin has a shorter scale length (maybe around 280mm) and is tuned CGDA - an octave above a mandola.

    Here is a photo for those who are sceptical about pocket mandolins fitting into pockets
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    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Quote Originally Posted by tonydxn View Post
    Would like to clarify that a pocket mandolin and a piccolo mandolin are not the same thing. Pocket mandolins are ordinary mandolins with a narrow body, 330mm scale length, tuned GDAE. A piccolo mandolin has a shorter scale length (maybe around 280mm) and is tuned CGDA - an octave above a mandola.

    Here is a photo for those who are sceptical about pocket mandolins fitting into pockets
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    Wow! I have to get one of those dual pocket mandolin jackets.
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    In the same realm but more modern is this very clever Wiplstix Travel/ Practice Violin (The "Infiddel") which comes in its own PVC pipe case. I actually own one and they are playable but, as you can imagine, leave much to be desired for tone and volume. What is great is that the bow does fit in the case (it is a 1/8 size violin bow). Now I have to get mine out and play it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now that looks like fun!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    LadysSolo: it is fun and very clever design but the tone leaves a lot to be desired. OTOH so do the pocket mandolins and pochettes.
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    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    Sound samples of two pocket mandolins here (a German one from the 1930's and one I made myself)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEMdZpTw_W4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjjszMehUk0
    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    I have a Weber Gallatin Sopranino, which is smaller than a mandolin but otherwise looks the same shape and proportions as a regular mandolin. Not a pocket mandolin.

    Its tuned a forth up from standard mandolin tuning. It is bright, loud, and fun to play.


    I also have an old German made pocket mandolin, that needs to be worked on. I don't know how it is going to sound. I can't imagine it will be as bright and loud as the Weber.
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  28. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2 antique Mandolins, one Very unique . Looking for info .

    If you want a decent, well-made modern version of pocket mandolin you could try a Seagull S8. Small but full scale and pretty decent tone for a small mandolin.

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    Jim

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